Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Responsibility Is Not Applicable’

Only the most cynical among us could have come up with a scenario for the game that played out in the election of legislators from legislative District 8, a scenario that came to an end Tuesday when the North Dakota Supreme Court settled it. Final score: Jeff Delzer 5 Doug Burgum 0. It started in the spring of 2016, when …


Unheralded

RON SCHALOW: Bastiat Caucus Reps Are ‘Conscientious Objectors’ In COVID War

The B.C Boys are still acting mulish — forever steamed over the face masks of the devil — on unsocial media since the beginning of the pandemic. “Hell no, we won’t go — to Target or any other stow*, unless to buy a mask and buy some matches, and burn the veil all to ashes.” Visions of lit draft cards and flaming bras …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Vacancy? What Vacancy?

Here’s the thing about North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s move Wednesday to jump in the middle of the bizarre District 8 legislative mess and appoint a coal company executive to fill the vacancy left by the death and subsequent election of Dave Andahl: Right now, there’s no vacancy to be filled. By now, all the newspapers are telling the story …

RON SCHALOW: NDGOP Trumpedemiologist Champs Were Born This Way

Bear with Me. I’ve been pounding my head on Trump’s health care plan. The second line of Section 2 under Article I of the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of the state of North Dakota reads: “Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people…” “Does the ‘protection, security and benefit of the people‘ have anything …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sweet Revenge

I promise, I’m not making this up because even someone with a mind as twisted as mine could not come up with a story this absurd. It’s the story of the race for the Legislature in North Dakota’s Legislative District 8. Yes, North Dakota’s attorney general says to the voters of District 8, you just go right ahead and vote …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Dear District 8 Republicans: Please Vote For The Dead Guy

As if this election year isn’t crazy enough already, in one of the most maudlin election tactics I’ve ever seen, North Dakota Republicans are urging voters to cast their ballots for a dead man. This bizarre recommendation comes from North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Rick Berg (not to be confused with Rick Becker, a real bizarre Republican) in the case …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Supreme Court: Dancing With Those That Brung You

Three times in less than a month, the North Dakota Republican Party has flexed its muscles and gone to the North Dakota Supreme Court and asked the state’s top five judges to keep something off the November 2020 General Election ballot. Three times they have succeeded. The result is that: A.  A measure to bring some election reform ideas before …

RON SCHALOW: You Might Be A Retrumplican …

If you rationalize the abject promotion of virus spread by jamming 20,000 adoring fans into a giant tuna can to “rally” by noting that some liberal bastards aren’t denouncing the transmission of the coronavirus by demonstrators as vigorously as the ego-driven “rallies,” you might be a Retrumplican. But there is no similarity, and it’s still not self-evident to the Retrumplicans …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Nobody Ever Got Rich Betting Against Doug Burgum

Four years ago, on the morning after the 2016 North Dakota Primary Election, I wrote a column with the headline “What The Hell Just Happened?” Doug Burgum pulled off one of the biggest upsets in North Dakota political history, giving Wayne Stenehjem a sound beating in their race for the Republican nomination for governor. Burgum did it by spending a …

RON SCHALOW: The Base’s Response Wasn’t Legendary

This past Friday, crazy North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum defied the Base’s morbidly obtuse idol by pleasantly asking people to be nice. These are the governor’s words: “I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they’re trading a divide — either it’s ideological …

RON SCHALOW: The Dogs That Didn’t Bark In The Night — Or Bay In The Day

A virus is raging across China and it’s on a collision course with Donald Trump. As the North Dakota Young Republicans often opine, “Hmmmm.” They really know how to rile the base. But the thought of a Trump versus deadly virus showdown didn’t scare our guys. Not in the least. What good does it do to bark at a near-certain …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A ‘Good New Boys’ Network?

Four years ago today, Doug Burgum was criss-crossing North Dakota in a motor home with “Burgum for Governor” in big letters on the side, running against Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in the Republican primary election just a few weeks hence. His campaign theme: Get rid of the “Good Old Boys” network in Bismarck. In what was generally viewed as a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Heavyweights, Lightweights and Republican Squabbles In 2020

Geez, Doug Burgum must be really pissed off at Jeff Delzer. Burgum is North Dakota’s governor. Delzer is a state representative from District 8, and a powerful one — chairman of the important North Dakota House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. Some say Delzer is the most powerful of all state legislators. Also one of the biggest. Kind of pumpkin-shaped. A BIG pumpkin. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — This Is Just F**king Stupid

The newspaper stories this morning said “North Dakota Gov.Doug Burgum said he intends to allow closed businesses to reopen Friday, May 1.” Well, isn’t that special. A great big May basket for North Dakota. Happy May Day. The rest of the story: “The State Health Department on Monday also announced 75 new cases of COVID-19, marking the second-highest single-day total …

ED MAIXNER: The COVID-19 Governor Factor: Wishing Y’all The Best!

Hoping to avoid COVID-19? Survive it if you get it? Who’s your state’s governor? In many states, that may matter. Our individual odds for surviving COVID-19 are emerging as somewhat of a crapshoot, dependent on countless ways we can avoid or contract the virus and, if you get it, to a large degree how healthy your heart and lungs are …

RON SCHALOW: North Dakota First?

Were we — the state of North Dakota — seriously obligated to wait for Donald Trump to finish bungling the initial response to the Novel Coronavirus before we — the state of North Dakota — acted aggressively to combat the virus? The necessary information was public, and the experts were screaming and blowing air horns at policymakers since January. Was any state required to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Couple More Notes On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

I want to add a couple or things to the Little Missouri River Crossing story I posted here earlier today. First Note: A little history, which you can read more fully by clicking on the link at the end of this note. I really didn’t become aware of the serious problems with this project until I attended a public meeting …

RON SCHALOW: Part 2 of ‘Washington State Opts Out Of Bakken Oil Train Lotto’

A door-to-door custom news talker — one think minimum — begins his commentary: “North Dakota, North Dakota, it’s coming to me, OK, in North Dakota news, Gov. Doug Burgum — honorary chair of Donald Trump 2020 — either did something humane or made an empty gesture. More after this.” “Hey dumbass. I told you ‘no’ commercials.” “It was a PSA, man. Geez. So anyway, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Worst Threat To The Little Missouri State Scenic River EVER!

An interesting little item buried on Page 4 of a long April 30 North Dakota Industrial Commission meeting agenda read: “Overview of Oil and Gas Development in western North Dakota along the Little Missouri River.” (approx. 3:30 pm) Piqued my curiosity, so I went. What I learned is that I should have been paying more attention to some things my …

RON SCHALOW: This Is The Worst Reality Show I’ve Ever Been In

It’s terrible. The president is an asshole and his poll numbers go up in unison with his every act of ignorant cruelty. That’s one of those “known knowns.” And maybe, “known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.” And I thought Donald Rumsfeld was a dick. Now, this odd character just entered. …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — North Dakota Politics

Every legislative session, there should be kiosks in the malls to sell Lisinopril because Lord knows my blood pressure sure goes up. In North Dakota, any maniac can propose a bill. Well, not just any maniac off the street — elected maniacs. Take, for instance, Senate Bill 2136, sponsored by Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, that would force schools to offer …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You’re Going To Talk Like Teddy Roosevelt, You Better Act Like Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve listened to a few State of the State speeches by North Dakota governors — probably somewhere between 15 and 20 — and even had a hand in writing a few of them, so I think I’m qualified to offer a few comments on the one Doug Burgum gave Thursday to the North Dakota Legislature. As they go, his was …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — End Of The Year Quiz

I’m on an early deadline. Happy New Year, folks! Out with the old and in with the new! And that has nothing to do with cleaning my refrigerator. True story: A couple of years ago, my daughter discovered some Italian dressing with an expiration date that coincided with Obama’s inauguration. Really. Since it was basically oil and vinegar, I insisted …

TONY BENDER: “Badass Grandmas’ Take Measure 1 Fight On The Road

The “Badass Grandmas” toured south-central North Dakota on Oct. 23, with stops in Napoleon, Wishek, Ashley, Hague, Strasburg and Linton. Dina Butcher, a former Republican candidate for North Dakota ag commissioner, and Ellen Chaffee, a Democrat and former president of Valley City State College and Mayville State College, are the grandmas who represent North Dakotans for Public Integrity, a coalition …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Time To Get Involved

A LOT of people read Monday’s post about the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the Davis Refinery on The Prairie Blog and Unheralded.Fish, and I had a number of requests asking how they could get involved. Here’s how: Write a letter. Elected officials react to public contact. Letters, e-mails, phone calls and attendance at meetings all influence their actions. …

RON SCHALOW: Lord Of The Lies — Fargo 2.0

Donald Trump was in Fargo. Again. It was his second visit since June 27, but this time it was to raise money for Kevin Cramer, who is getting shellacked by Heidi Heitkamp in the dollar department. This time, though, he only spoke for about for about 30 minutes. Much of it was pure bullshit, but the small crowd, including a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Halcyon Days Are Gone

In the halcyon days of the 1970s in North Dakota, when the state was a quieter, kinder, friendlier, more thoughtful place, the Legislature passed a bill, and the governor signed it, designating the Little Missouri River as our state’s only official State Scenic River and creating a commission to look out for it. The Little Missouri Scenic River Commission did …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — GOP Needs To Change Mascots

Gov. Doug Burgum joined 30 other governors last week in support of Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice, which is — if you’re a Republican — about as shocking as going to a midsummer tent revival and proclaiming your love for Jesus. Even if you’re only there to pick up sweaty Baptist chicks. Burgum, Sen. John Hoeven and Senate …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who Wants To Invest In A Refinery? Here’s How You Can Do It

I wrote here a couple of weeks go about the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, created by Congress in 1947, and about the proposed oil refinery that threatens it, a refinery that has now been issued a permit by the state of North Dakota to build the dang thing. It’s been 70 years since Congress declared that this place …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Republicans Raising Taxes In North Dakota? Yep, They Did That

Wait a minute. Wait A Minute! WAIT A MINUTE! What the heck is going on here? The North Dakota Legislature raised your taxes, and everybody’s cheering! The cheerleaders? Republicans: Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. Democrats: Sen.. Heidi Heitkamp, Tax Commissioner candidate Kylie Overson. The chant: “A victory for North Dakota’s retailers!” Screw that. OK, …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — In Search Of The Phantom Workforce

The governor and the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce are spending $4,000 this month to ask 1,000 businesses what they need to grow and prosper. I wish they’d talked to me first. I know they’re awfully keen to pinch those budgetary pennies. I’d have been happy to tell them for the price of a cup of coffee: People. North …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I So Declare It!’

My day started out OK this morning. My pillbox told me it was Thursday — it’s always nice to know what day of the week it is right away in the morning. I had a pretty good bowel movement — for you young readers, that‘s pretty important for someone my age. I got my belt through every belt loop but …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Should A Governor Take Free Super Bowl Tickets?

I just read on The Forum’s website that Gov. Doug Burgum is taking free tickets to the Super Bowl. “Burgum and first lady, Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, will be attending the game at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as guests of Xcel Energy, which leases a suite at the venue, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said.” “’So they are not paying for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Charlie Creek To Belfield — A History Lesson

The last major threat to the visual integrity of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, at least that I can recall — though there have been many skirmishes with the oil industry — was in 1989, when the Western Area Power Administration came really close to putting a huge transmission line along the east boundary of the South Unit of the Park. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Refineries And The Public Trust Doctrine

The official comment period has passed on that sleazy company Meridian Energy’s request for an Air Pollution Permit for an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’m guessing the State Health Department got an earful. Friday, on the last day of comments, my friend,Sarah Vogel, our former state agriculture commissioner and one of the state’s best attorneys, sent me …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Refinery Needs A Site Review

A pair of former Democratic-NPL state senators challenged the North Dakota Health Department to demand a site review by the State’s Public Service Commission before issuing an air pollution permit allowing Meridian Energy Group to build a refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park at a marathon public hearing by the Department Wednesday night. Former Sen. Connie Triplett of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Gov. Burgum Needs To Take Responsibility For His Actions

I don’t think North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has a disingenuous bone in his body. But sometimes political naivete can make someone appear disingenuous (actually, my definition of disingenuous is “fake naivete”). There’s still a bit of naivete in Burgum. The transition from the business world to government is not an easy one. He’s still learning, although he’s a pretty …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Simple Request To The Governor: Let’s Get Technical

Dear Gov. Burgum, I am writing to you today about transparency. Transparency in government. Transparency in North Dakota government. Transparency in North Dakota government as it relates to our environment and environmental protection. You’ve said often you believe in transparency. Here’s a chance to prove it. You’re a new governor this year, and you come from the world of high …

RON SCHALOW: Port Whine, Part 1

I’m not sure how many days since Rob Port, famed columnist, political pundit and radio personality was featured on the Forum’s front page, but I’m still blind in my left eye. Seriously, I was a little startled to see Port’s mug on the front page of the Fargo Forum, for more reasons than one. Port’s visage always makes me jump, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Little Missouri State Scenic River Is In Trouble Again

North Dakota’s Little Missouri State Scenic River lost most of its scenic protection this week when Gov. Doug Burgum reversed course and joined the members of his State Water Commission in opening the entire river to industrial water development. Last month, Burgum declared upstream areas of the state’s only official State Scenic River — the areas surrounding the three units …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Our Rich Heritage; Our National Park

Here’s a short follow-up to a story I did a couple of weeks ago about the proposed Davis Refinery, the big industrial plant the California company Meridian Energy wants to build next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You’ll recall the North Dakota Department of Health sent Meridian a letter a month ago questioning some of the emissions projections Meridian used …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Act Today To Protect The Little Missouri State Scenic River

There are two or three days left in the legislative session. A lot of bad things are going to happen to North Dakota in that short period of time. I’ve been watching every legislative session since 1975, and this one is by far the most irresponsible I’ve seen. One of the worst things that could happen this week is the industrialization …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Down In Front!

You bought your ticket, and you’re enjoying the show … when the big guy in front of you stands up. You can’t see around him. He’s taller than you. Larger. Louder. He’s got a lot of muscle, and his brawny friends are cheering him on. When you tell him — politely — that he’s in your way, all he does …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Mr. Bender Goes to Bismarck

It’s almost halftime at the North Dakota Legislature, so last week I went to the state Capitol to monitor progress. I represented The Ashley Tribune and The Wishek Star as Newspapers of the Day, a program sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association to foster better relations between the press and legislators. I guess I was an ambassador of good …